CHICAGO — Former Cal Poly standout Kevin Correia knows firsthand how big his RBI double was.
Correia pitched six scoreless innings and hit a rare RBI double, leading the San Diego Padres to a 9-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.
Miguel Tejada was 4 for 5 with a double and two RBI and Chris Denorfia added three hits for the National League West-leading Padres, who have won seven of eight and moved four games ahead of second-place San Francisco.
After taking two of three from the Giants last weekend, the Padres won behind another strong showing from of one of their starters.
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Correia (10-7) allowed five hits and struck out five with one walk. After giving up four hits in the first two innings, he settled down to retire his last eight batters and became the fourth Padres starting pitcher to win at least 10 games this season.
Correia also gave the Padres a lead that they would never give up.
Cubs starter Tom Gorzelanny retired the first two batters in the fifth but allowed a single to Denorfia before Correia helped himself with a double down the left-field line. Denorfia scored from first, just beating the relay throw to give the Padres a 1-0 lead.
“It’s a 0-0 game. As a pitcher, giving up an RBI to the pitcher when you’re about to get out of the inning really hurts. I know the feeling,” Correia said.
Correia came into the game with a .108 batting average and only two doubles in 176 Major League at-bats.The right-hander also escaped a major jam in the first and improved to 5-1 since the All-Star break with a 3.00 ERA in six starts.
“I feel like I came back from the All-Star break with a better mental state. Attacking the second half and really going out there fighting. Once I got my fastball command back it’s kind of when I started pitching well,” Correia said.
The usually dependable San Diego bullpen struggled, however, yielding two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth. It took five relievers to secure the win. Mike Adams got one out in the eighth and closer Heath Bell finished up with a perfect ninth.
Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI double in the eighth and Blake Dewitt followed with a two-run homer for the Cubs, who have lost seven of eight at home.
Gorzelanny (6-7) was tagged for five runs and nine hits in 6 1⁄3 innings. He didn’t allow a hit until a leadoff single by Tejada in the fourth.